Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unshackle Says Fees ≠ Relief

A $50 fee for property tax appeals was proposed by the Mandate Relief Team and Unshackle Upstate is not pleased with this proposal.
Brian Sampson, the executive director of Unshackle, contended that New Yorkers are already taxed enough. "Rather than scheming up ways to nickel and dime us to death, our elected leaders should focus their energies on how to reduce taxes," he said.
"Charging a fee for people to contest their property tax assessment when the state, at this point, is not advancing real property tax reform makes no sense at all."
This fee also seems to contradict Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pledge for no new taxes or fees, which could explain why the report was released without any fanfare. In fact, the mandate team's report included a handful of new fees. While Cuomo "accepted" the preliminary report, he didn't say whether he endorsed all of its proposals.
Cuomo's description of the report was this: "This is a good first step in helping cities, towns and villages across New York rein in costs and help taxpayers, and I look forward to additional findings throughout the year."
This proposed fee would raise between $12.5 million and $15 million annually, but it's not clear whether they anticipate assessments would remain the same or decrease with the imposition of a fee.

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